Group Process

More than buildings, cohousing is about people. Successful cohousing communities spend as much time and energy on growing connections and attending to group process as they do to building and maintaining structures. A strong desire for collaboration and consensus isn’t enough; we need to learn and practice the skills to do it well. (After all, most of us did NOT grow up knowing how to do this!) Periodic training in communication skills and conflict resolution along with opportunities to discuss deeper values and goals can help maintain healthy, strong relationships. Read one of these books together and discuss it, or bring in an outside facilitator to help you see the water you swim in. -- Eris Weaver, Group Process Consultant
When I do minutes, I do not try to provide court transcripts; I don’t have the training or the equipment, and in any event, modern audio recording devices often do that as well or better than a...
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I was recently in a conversation with a friend who had just facilitated a difficult meeting for a neighboring community. Upon reflection, he felt fine when it came to working conflict and emotional...
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Question: We are 3 months into starting a co-housing community in western MA. We will soon be discussing how we will make group decisions. I don't think we have to reinvent the wheel on this one....
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Laird's Blog - Why Starting with a Proposal is Usually a Bad Idea As a process consultant for cooperative groups one of the most common things I'm asked to address is why it's such a slog to solve...
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Most values statements are so vague that pretty much anyone would be willing to endorse them. Values statements mean nothing unless they are connected to a vision, mission, and aims. The same...
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Here's a new resource - Webinars by Laird Schaub, one of the three best trainers in group process/facilitation I've had the pleasure to work with. I can't attend due to the day job, but I'm...
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I attended a workshop recently on The Circle Way, based on the 2010 book of that title by Christina Baldwin and Ann Linnea. The workshop leaders were very promotional of groups using the Circle...
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"It is a strategy I think a community could use to jump start their program, and then talk about how to reduce the centralization after a year or more of successful meals. Since we have quite slowly...
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I asked Daniel if we could post this here because it's about a great deal more than wifi. -cat The best advice I can give around wifi is to be careful about how you talk to one another about it...
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I was recently selected to join a nonprofit board and attended my first meeting via teleconference. Although the bylaws stiplated that decisions would be made by consensus (I'd done my reading), the...
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A woman in the sociocracy discussion group at the cohousing conference asked about people who join being able to change policies. The group has a pet policy but the new person wants it changed. My...
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[Editor's note - come to Laird Schaub's Facilitation...
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Personally I object to the use of the word "block" as synonymous with "objection" and this entry explains some of the reasons why. What is a block? This is not a facetious question. If this is the...
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One of the ways the principles and methods used by sociocracy speed up decision-making is going directly to objections instead of discussing the proposal. The proposal should state the perceived...
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When people create intentional community they are purposefully choosing a culture that is shifted more toward the "we" end of the spectrum and away from the "I" end. People living in community are,...
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Group Works: Power Shift This entry continues a series in which I'm exploring concepts encapsulated in a set of 91 cards called Group Works, developed by Tree Bressen, Dave Pollard, and Sue...
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I'm currently immersed in four days of FIC organizational meetings, where a key focus has been how to make better connections with others trying to build cooperative culture. Essentially, those of us...
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Grace Kim responded to a query on cohousing-l to “cohousing veterans:” “What should we (a forming group) be worried about / work out in advance / get a good plan for NOW?" I'll preface my advice...
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Sociocratic governance requires consensus decision-making for policy decisions. Policy decisions include setting goals, allocating funds, assigning people to roles and responsibilities, and...
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East Bay Cohousing members practice using consensus while meeting at the common house of Swan’s Market Cohousing in Oakland, CA, last year.When people choose to live in community, they hold a...
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In principle, the more information we have about something the better decision we are likely to make. We are likely to have the most information at the last minute. Deciding more than we really need...
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Skills for Committees Slides This presentation is copyright Liz Logan, 2008. Permission is granted to download one copy to share with your community, with attribution. Please call or write if you...
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Talkers vs. Doers slides This presentation is copyright Liz Logan, 2008. Permission is granted to download one copy to share with your community with attribution. Please call or write if you have...
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In principle, decision making “structure” consists of things like rules, agendas, mandates, and plans; and when these things frame our choices it frees us to focus on the substance of our work. A...
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In principle, when everybody understands and plays by the same rules, the experience is much more likely to be fun and rewarding than when people make up or assume their own rules and not everyone...
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In principle, if we are a group of equals deciding how we are going to spend our time together, it should be a group decision or at least the group should decide the agenda-setting process. Every...
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In principle, groups make their most creative, win-win decisions when each participant puts in their personal best and no participant thinks they know best for the group. It works best when no single...
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In principle, there are basically three ways to influence the choices people make. You can regulate what people cannot do and punish violations. You can offer incentives to encourage certain choices...
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In principle, the center of a circle is equidistant from all points on its perimeter. We need to know the edges in order to know the center. To know what is centrally acceptable to a group of...
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In principle, a good team is a group of people who try to make each other look good. Harry Truman said, “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” Similarly, we...
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